India fares moderately in global ranking of women's political empowerment, says study

United Nations: India has fared moderately in a global ranking of countries as per the percentage of women appointed in ministerial positions, but was at a bleak position in another list on number of women parliamentarians.

The Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) and UN Women launched the 'Women in Politics 2017 Map', a visual representation of women's political empowerment on the sidelines of the ongoing session of the Commission on the Status of Women at the United Nations.

Representational image. Reuters

Representational image. Reuters

India ranked 88th out of 186 countries in the list with of 18.5 percent of women appointed in ministerial positions as of 1 January, 2017. Countries like Rwanda, Kenya, Mozambique and South Sudan fared better than India in the ranking.

However, it did not score well in the ranking of nations according to number of women elected or appointed to parliaments as on 1 January.

It ranked 148 out of the 193 nations, with only 11.48 percent women in the Lower House of Parliament and 11 percent in the Upper House. Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Pakistan, China and Iraq were ranked higher than India.

According to the data presented by the Map, the number of women in executive government and in the parliaments worldwide has stagnated, with only marginal improvements since 2015.

The number of women heads of state or heads of government fell from 19 to 17 since 2015, and progress in the number of women in the parliaments continues to be slow, the data said.

"What is democracy? Is it people for the people, or men for the people," UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka told reporters at the United Nations on Wednesday at the launch of the data.

The Union, established in 1889, is the focal point for world-wide parliamentary dialogue and works for peace and co-operation among peoples and for the firm establishment of representative democracy.

The IPU supports the efforts of and works in close cooperation with the UN on relevant objectives. Its data shows that the global average of women in national parliaments increased just slightly from 22.6 percent in 2015 to 23.3 percent in 2016. The number of female Speakers of the House, however, is up to the highest so far, with 53 out of 273 posts.

"Political campaigns are expensive," Mlambo-Ngcuka said identifying some of the challenges faced by women who run for office. "Political parties are male dominated. When there isn't a specific measure in place, women fall off the ground. Men tend to choose those who are made in their own image," she said.

Women's participation in parliaments rose to 25 percent from 22.4 percent in 2015, even as the heads of state of Brazil and Argentina left office.

Number of women ministers in Africa declined after years of steady growth. About 19.7 percent of the region's ministerial posts are held by women.

In Asia, women held 11 percent of ministerial posts (from 10.6 percent in 2015). Indonesia became the country with the highest participation of women in government (25.7 percent) in the region, while Vietnam and Nepal experienced steep declines drifting below five percent.

In Europe, the total percentage stood at 22.5 percent. A surprise came from the Nordic countries which have traditionally led the global stage in politics, but whose number of female ministers fell by more than six per cent to 43.5 percent.


Published Date: Mar 16, 2017 10:02 am | Updated Date: Mar 16, 2017 10:02 am


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